|Assessment brief/activity||Assessment Criteria|
|Assessment method(s) :||Written responses to questions|
|Your CEO is considering outsourcing the HR function in your organisation. You have been tasked with|
highlighting the value of the HR function to the business. You are required to provide written answers to
the questions below.
Question 1Analyse how the HR function varies between organisations. Include a comparison of HR delivery in
different sectors and organisations of different sizes.
Evaluate the business case for managing HR in a professional, ethical and just manner.
Provide a short description of at least two major theories of change management.
Briefly describe an example of change in the organisation and apply one of the theories, including some evaluation of the process, outcome and impact.
You are planning to produce an evidential report highlighting the HR function’s contribution to organisation success and development. Provide a brief summary of the criteria and organisational data that could be included and how it would be analysed.
Question 6a) Read the article provided: It identifies and evaluates research evidence linking HR practices with positive organisational outcomes. Briefly summarise the findings and evaluate its validity, reliability and persuasiveness.
b) Explain how high-performance working and investment in human capital can impact on organisational success and performance. Does the article support this?
Evidence to be produced/required
Written answers for each of the six activities of 4000 words +/- 10%You should relate academic concepts, theories and professional practice to the way organisations operate, in a critical and informed way, and with reference to key texts, articles and other publications and by using organisational examples for illustration.
All reference sources should be acknowledged correctly and a bibliography provided where appropriate (these should be excluded from the word count).
5HRF Learning Outcomes
|1.1 Summarise the organisational objectives that the HR function is responsible for delivering and how|
these are evolving in contemporary organisations.
1.2 Explain the major theories of effective change management and how these are implemented and evaluated.
1.3 Evaluate the business case for managing HR in a professional, ethical and just manner.
|2. Understand how HR objectives are delivered in different organisations.||2.1 Explain the different ways in which HR objectives can be delivered in organisations.|
2.2 Analyse how the HR function varies between organisations in different sectors and of different sizes.
|4. Understand the relationship between organisational performance and effective HR management and development.||4.1 Identify and evaluate research evidence linking HR practices with positive organisational outcomes.|
4.2 Explain how high-performance working and investment in human capital impact on organisational practice.
According to CIPD (2020), the HR function is tasked to ensure that the various objectives of the organization are achieved through the implementation of holistic recruitment and enhancing performance management through career growth. The HR functions assist an organization to accomplish its corporate strategy and set objectives through effective recruitment and management of qualified employees. The HR function is considered broad and classified into various categories such as HR planning, recruitment, and selection, performance management, career planning, function evaluation, and rewards. CIPD (2018), a professional map indicates the importance of HR in accomplishing the organizational objectives is informed by the prevailing change in the business environment. Furthermore, an increase in the shortage of skills in the global organizational environment results in economic challenges that hinder competition within an organization. Hence the main organizational objectives of the HR function including;
HR Admin: The HR function is tasked with creating policies and procedures that affect each employee within the organization. As an HR admin, the roles played include setting up L&D interventions that meet the needs of the organization as well as designing the organizational structures and using the organization information systems to gather data and insights. Also, the HR admin maintains all personal records, manages the HR documents, and updates the internal database of the organization.
Enhancement of the Organization employee capability and performance improvement: The strategy of the HR function is to ensure that the organizational employees are engaged and their expectations are given priority (Alexander and Lyytinen, 2019). Therefore, the organization’s operation strategy should harness the employee’s satisfaction by advancing its process of change to boost performance.
Change Management in the organization: The HR function works as a change agent in an organization by coordinating resources, facilitating the achievement of change, and mitigating any arising resistance from change by unsatisfied employees (Malik, 2016).
Staffing of Employees in the Organization: The HR function is bestowed with all the rights of employee staffing within the organization (CIPD, 2020). HR thus engages in sourcing new employees, recruiting, training, and performing capacity development of all the employees within the organization. To ensure the employees staffed to the organization are efficient the HR functions conduct inductions to develop the talents of the recruits to ensure the sustainability of the organization.
Promoting employee relations: A positive relationship between an organization and its employees is very vital to the overall performance of the organization. The HR function achieves good employee relationships through transparent and employment of relevant laws to solve internal wrangles and implementation of proactive strategies that will prevent future occurrence.
HR functions are considered dynamic and have been characterized by a series of changes over the past years and in the current present. According to CIPD (2015), the business environment was characterized by contemporary business practices that have since changed with improved operations. This can also be affirmed by the transition of the CIPD map of 2013 that relied on offering support to employees to the current professional CIPD map of 2018. The CIPD professional map 2018 is more flexible, comprehensive, and equally actively engaging in aligning all modern and future operations of an organization to be successful.
Previously, the HR function was merely a support department operated from a single department separate from the others. However, the current HR function has passed through a series of changes from a single department to one that has become an active coordinator in all departments in an organization. CIPD (2018) explains that the HR function includes and actively identifies shared service centers of excellence as strategic business partners. Also, the HR function in the contemporary organization has since changed to include multiple stakeholders. Initially, the HR function was being implemented in a physical department but in the current environment, the HR operations are being more of an integrated practice.
As compared to the past the HR function adapted the use of distinct tools and techniques to achieve objectives but in the current contemporary business environment, HR practices include the use of electronic systems to store distinct information, rely on using psychometric tests during recruitment and selection, payroll management (CIPD, 2020).
Under CIPD (2020), organizational change is static in many organizations driven by several distinct forces such as customers, market, and technology. There are devastating and long-lasting effects that affect an organization that fails to effectively manage change. For instance, the organization can lose its market position, remove senior management, lose key employees, and lose stakeholder’s credibility. Therefore, professionals must understand the issues affecting change and equip themselves with relevant techniques to support change management initiatives. Major theories of effective change management include;
Kurt Lewin’s Change Model: Lewin (1947), developed a three steps change model that involved three steps; unfreezing, changing, and refreezing whereby employees are involved and instructed by employers regarding issues related to the change process.
Unfreezing of the current state of an organization refers to the stage of getting employees to gain a positive perspective of their day to day activities and unlearn their bad habits. This stage requires employees to open up new ways of reaching the objectives of the organization. Lewin argues that change follows resistance by group forces which prevent individuals to embrace change. Therefore, an agitating equilibrium state to instigate behavior change through emotional stir-up to disturb the group dynamics and forces can be very useful in instigating behavioral change.
Implementation: HR should determine what needs to change by conducting surveys to determine why change is necessary. HR should also ensure to frame the issue such that it impacts positively to the entire organization to obtain support from all stakeholders.
Lewin explains that change will only happen in an organization once the unfrozen status-quo is dealt with. Organizational change is complex and will require a well-planned change process, thus one must prepare a variety of change options since there is no guarantee of predictable results. He explains that information flow and leadership are two major drivers of a successful and long-term effective change implementation within an organization. Therefore, he insinuates that any change left without adequate reinforcement may be short-lived thus failing to meet the intended objectives of the change process.
Implementation: HR should communicate widely and clearly about the planned change, implementation, benefits, and employees to be affected. Encourage employees to get involved in the change process by supporting line managers in providing directions to the employees. HR should involve other stakeholders and employees as much as possible during the implementation of change in the organization.
According to Lewin, this final stage’s purpose is to sustain the change enacted in an organization. The main objective is for the employees to acknowledge the change as the new status-quo so that they will no longer resist the forces trying to implement the change. In this stage, the organization’s norms, activities, strategies, and processes are transformed per the new state of change. Lewin goes ahead to assert that without appropriate steps that sustain and reinforce the change, previous behavior in the organization tends to reassert itself thus the need to consider formal and informal mechanisms to implement and freeze the new changes.
Implementation: The HR should develop and promote ways to sustain the change in the organization to be long-term by ensuring the leadership and management support the organizational structure change. Offer training, support, and communication for both short and long-term to ensure the employees learn and embrace the change. Lastly, HR should tie the new changes into the organizational culture by identifying change support and change barriers.
Carnall, Change management model
Colin Carnall (1990) produced a useful model that highlights several perspectives on change. He describes effective management of change depends on the management level skill in the following areas; managing transitions effectively, managing organizational politics, and dealing with the organizational cultures. An HR manager skilled in managing transitions in an organization has an upper hand in helping employees to learn as they change and create a business atmosphere by being candid and risk-taking. HR manager dealing with organizational cultures can examine the prevailing organizational cultures and begins to develop what Carnall refers to ‘a more adaptable culture’. Furthermore, an HR manager who can manage organizational politics can easily understand and recognize the different factions and agendas within the organization. Carnall points out that only by synthesizing the management of the transition, dealing with organizational cultures and organizational politics constructively can the HR manager be able to create an environment in which risk-taking and rebuilding of self-esteem to improve the performance of the organization.
Carnall’s model mainly focuses on the role of the HR manager during the change process in the organization.
Professional: According to CIPD (2019), The HR function is required to manage the organization professionally. The HR function is a professional department expected to operate within specific values, purposes, and integrate knowledge and employee practice. This ensures that all the stakeholders within the organization work together to benefit the overall performance of the organization. For instance, an organization can effectively compete and succeed in the business environment only if the HR function acts professionally.
Ethical: Ethical practice involves the application of ethical values in organizational behavior (CIPD, 2020). Ethical issues in organizations are characterized through cultural practices evidenced by increased integrity and staff. To operate ethically an organization needs to design an ethics program that supports and brings the organizational values to reality. The Institute of Business Ethics Research demonstrates the benefits that an organization enjoys when they take seriously ethical values. An organization can boost its morale, create good relations with clients thus enhancing its reputation and an organization can outperform its competitors financially in the long-term.
However, serious risk can occur when an organization is at odds with its stated ethical values. This tends to harm the credibility of the organization and leaves the employees disengaged.
Just manner: According to the 2018 CIPD professional map, individual’s activities and practices are actively integrated in a more just manner inclusive of immense practices. Just manner means that all policies in an organization are integrated, all regulations addressed, planning workforces, diversification, and high levels of inclusivity. A just manner practice in organizations mitigates all forms of discrimination and ensures equal opportunities and management practices provide for all. An organization that operates in a just manner develops high-level integrity with the client’s hence increasing profit and dominance in their operations.
In the CIPD profession map, line managers are tasked with the role of realizing HR objectives and delivering the HR function. The Ulrich-3-Legged and CIPD model are different application methods used in the delivery of HR objectives in an organization.
Ulrich-3-Legged Model: This HR model includes shared services, HR business partners, and outsourcing to deliver HR objectives within different organizations.
HR objectives are delivered by different HR professionals working in collaboration with other departments such as line managers and other stakeholders. CIPD (2019) points out that the provision of shared services is effective through the integration of all business practices to be in line with the entire HR practices in an entity. There are distinct differences between shared services and other HR business practices and strategic business partners. Shared services are sufficient in the implementation of all organizational objectives in HR to be in a more collaborative manner. Shared services are beneficial in an organization since it is cost-efficient, offers zero functions duplication and harness focus of the entire HR department. However, the cons of this approach are that the delivery of the HR objectives internally hence does not integrate the external players who harness the existence of a diversity of the organization.
HR Business partner
The HR business partners in any organization are very critical to the overall performance and growths of the organization thus are adopted as a critical HR operating model. The roles of HR business partners involve working closely with the managers of organizational departments to enhance the workforce performance, foster and nurture strategic individual enablers with specific talents, leadership and culture to achieve the organization objectives.
Strategic business partners- These are senior HR professionals who work collaboratively with business associates such as line managers embedded in their business units. They have tasked the opportunity to influence, drive forward, and implement the organization and individual strategy through harnessing an alignment of the HR capabilities across the entire organization.
Outsourcing strategy is equally used to deliver the HR objectives. According to CIPD (2018), the outsourcing approach is suited appropriately to obtain diverse payroll and provision of other services for the organizational operations. The pros associated with this strategy include the ability to improve the overall efficiency while making sure that the entire organization’s expertise is made useful. However, the effectiveness of HR objectives delivery using outsourcing integrates the use of Employee Self-Service (ESS) and the Manager Self-Service System (MSS) (Alexander and Lyytinen, 2019).
Pros: Improves efficiency and cost reduction, reduces duplication of efforts, and reduces the overall headcount.
Cons: Reduces diversity of employees within the organization, it is not flexible, loss of control since less tailored services are in existence.
Pros: Very cost-effective and increases efficiency, flexible, easy to manage employee performance and development in the organization.
Cons: Offers a high possibility of losing sensitive data and confidentiality, HR tends to know less concerning organizational operations.
As explained by Taylor and Woodhams (2013), every organization has a unique functional structure in staffing since organizations have different contingency variables and management practices. The HR function is unique to specific organizations in every aspect of their operations. Different organizations may have overreaching similarities in their improvement of the workforce. However, other organizations may still have salient differences in the improvement of the workforce. Every organization has its own plan that varies from other organization’s plans related to the roles and responsibilities of employees. For instance, some organizations may opt to form one department and combine the roles and responsibilities of employees as their own way of reducing the organizational wage bill. Another organization may opt to create small departments that are unique to their production and service delivery with each department containing employees with different roles and objectives.
However, the HR function has evolved into a more strategic contributor to the organizational goals and objectives than previously. Currently, organizations are customizing their internal functions to suit their needs more efficiently. The sizes of the organization tend to have different HR functions. For instance, the retail sector organization’s HR functions will differ from manufacturing sector organizations since the manufacturing sectors tend to have a high level of customer interaction. The management is also complex as compared to a small-sized retail organization. The size of the organization plays a huge role in determining how the employees will be structures and the various roles will be distributed (Russ-Eft, 2014). Big organizations tend to have a hierarchical management structure whereby departments have line managers as the heads. HR however acts as the overall manager who oversees the line managers.
Small-sized organizations on the other hand do not have many slots required to be filled for both line managers and employees. Thus, the owner of a small organization can opt to act as the HR manager who engages in recruiting, interviewing, and supervising the entire employees in the organization.
Sufficient evidence through research exists to prove that investment in HR practices impacts positively on an organization both financial results and in the market value of the organization (Ulrich, 1997, p.306).
HR operational practices are positively and directly associated with employee productivity. The success and performance of any organization rely on the effort and productivity of the employees to meet the set objectives. HR strategy and practices develop the organizational capability of developing and supporting organizational employee’s knowledge, skills, and relationships within the company (Snell, Stuebner, & Lepak, 2002). The primary focus of HR practice is to ensure positive relationships among employees and to explore various rational implications of HR practices to ensure productivity.
HR creates new management styles and implementation of digitalization from traditional HR practices within the organization. This creates relationship opportunities with a significant impact on employee’s productivity by improving HR services and empowering employees (Bissola & Imperatori, 2013). Therefore, the quality of HR services in an organization plays a vital role in enhancing the productivity of employees.
Similarly, the operational, relational, and transformational employed by the HR practices form a crucial role in improving the quality of HR services and the overall productivity of employees and the organization. First, operational practices are concerned with the administrative roles of the HR function. The practice employed by the HR to be used in workplaces enables the organization to achieve transactional goals such as improvement in productivity and reducing the overall cost of HR activities. This HR practice improves the organizational performance by attracting; identifying and retaining highly skilled employees to achieve maintain high productivity in the organization. Second, relational practices employed by HR focus on interpersonal relationships with employees in the organization. The HR relational practice improves the quality of HR services and to ensure procedural and organizational justice through empowerment of both employees and the management. Last, transformational HR practice ensures that employee’s attitudes and behaviors are aligned with the organizational strategy. The HR ensuring free and open lines of communication, transparency, and promoting ethical behaviors of employees makes them feel like part of the organization hence they become fully engaged thus increasing productivity.
High-performance practice refers to the way an organization plans the work in which its employees participate in making decisions that impact the overall performance of the broader organization. These practices enable the organization to achieve high-performance culture with norms and values combined to create an environment that supports the achievement of high levels of performance. High-performance work practices do empower employees thus helping organizational efficiency and performance. High performance supports substantial investment in human capital thus empowering employees by developing their knowledge, skills, flexibility, and motivation (Van Buren & Werner, 1996). Through empowerment, employees can adapt quickly to the rapidly changing market conditions thus able to improve operational efficiency and performance of the organization. Higher performance in the organization is characterized by the HR through; highly selective hiring process, offering employment security, conducting comprehensive training and development, promoting teamwork among employees, reduction of status differentials, and high compensation to employees based on their performance.
According to Combs et al. (2006), high-performance work practices improve the social structure within organizations thus enabling effective communication and collaboration with employees. Employees are free to express their ideas on the functioning of the organization and line managers can listen and put into consideration. This practice affects the overall performance of the organization it supports employees to engage in voice.
An organization can therefore implement high-performance work practices to improve organizational performance through increasing employee’s skills, knowledge, and abilities. HR should empower the employees to utilize their knowledge, skills, and abilities for the benefit of the organization and motivate them often to do so.
However, there are cons associated with high-performance work practices. First, organizational and employees goals overlap and are diverse making it difficult for the individual interests of employees to be considered in the high-performance work practices. In HPWS, it imposes strict employee regulations for instance high-performance standards, and increases demands made upon employees. To meet the set standards, employees are forced to cope with work overload thus affecting negatively the ability of employees to accomplish their life goals while working to achieve organizational goals. HPWP assumes that employees are a homogeneous group of individuals with similar interests but in a real sense, employees perceive and interpret the aims and results of HPWP differently since they boost unique values and a diverse range of life pursuits.
Human capital measures the economic value that employees provide to an organization through their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Rastogi (2000), refers to human capital as an important input for organizations especially employee’s continuous improvement mainly on knowledge, abilities, and skills. Investing in human capital involves all those activities that improve the quality or productivity of employees in an organization. Human capital focuses on two components; individual employees and the organization. These attributes generate additional to employees and organizational outcomes. Noudhaug (1998), findings establish that human capital is associated with higher performance and sustainable competitive advantage. An organization reaps most from employees by investing actively in them.
First, investing in human capital increases employee satisfaction hence there are higher chances of improved productivity of the organization from employee’s production. Employees are more satisfied with their jobs once they notice that their workplace cares about their development. Second, improves retention rates of employees as less-skilled workers will be willing to leave the organization and seek alternative employment. It is estimated that the cost of replacing an employee amounts to an average of six months’ salary thus a little investment in employees can save the organization such as avoidable expenses. Third, developing employee engagement by an organization to improve productivity and make employees more loyal to the organization. Therefore, offering career advancement opportunities and investing in them offers them a reason to be engaged at work thus enabling organizational productivity. Last but not the least; improve ROI by spending a little more on employee development through increased salary, benefits and perks are a useful investment in the organization’s human capital. Maximizing return on human capital by offering opportunities to employees to grow and learn ultimately improves the overall performance of the organization.
However, it is not easy to attract, develop, and retain skilled employees in a complicated and tight labor market. Skilled employees tend to create a competitive advantage to be lured by rival organizations thus making it difficult for organizations to keep talented employees. An organization can easily lose an employee from being lured away to rival organizations or leaving voluntarily after investing heavily in their employees to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to boost their performance. Furthermore, the current marketplace is evolving rapidly hence an organization needs to keep active its L&D programs to ensure employees possess the knowledge, skills, and capabilities needed for the changing marketplace to achieve the organizational results. This can be very costly thus reducing the organizational performance especially if an organization fails to upgrade its L&D to meet the existing marketplace standards.
According to the Entrepreneur, October 2014 found out those organizations with happy employees tend to outperform their competitors by approximately 20 percent to earn 1.2 to 1.7 percent more in revenue. It is thus important to invest more in human capital for an organization to get the most out of the employees thus fostering productivity.
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